“Dragons” display Osprey for JASDF on Futenma

by Pfc. Cedric R. Haller II, III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office
U.S. Marine Corps

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Students from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force Air Officer Candidate School gathered at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Oct. 30 to experience using an MV-22B Osprey flight simulator and view a static display of the tiltrotor aircraft.

“The Osprey is an aircraft that Japan will be getting, so this provides them exposure and an introduction to it,” said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Trevor A. Wilk, the director of safety and standardization for Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The Osprey will provide the JASDF with capabilities it didn’t have before.”

The JASDF service members visited the Osprey flight simulators to experience a tiltrotor aircraft first hand.

“Most of us have never even seen an Osprey in person before,” said JASDF Senior Master Sgt. Kagsuhiko Shintaku, a student at the Air Officer Candidate School. “The flight simulator was a very good opportunity for all of us to get more exposure to the Osprey. It was a fantastic piece of technology.”

Following the flight simulator, the JASDF service members travelled to the flight-line where there was an Osprey set up for display.

“I was very surprised with the speed and utility the Osprey has,” said Shintaku, from Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. “I’m definitely looking forward to the opportunity to fly one in the future.”

The Osprey has been used by the Marine Corps to successfully assist in disaster relief operations in Haiti and the Philippines, recover a downed U.S. pilot in Libya, support combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and conduct multiple Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments.

“I talked to the Japanese service members about my personal experiences with using the Osprey in Afghanistan, comparing the Osprey to the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter,” said Wilk, from Jacksonville, North Carolina. “While the Osprey isn’t an exact replacement for the CH-46E, being that they are different machines, it has expanded the Marine Corps’ capabilities.”

The Osprey’s versatility is attributed to the fact that it combines the capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. The Osprey has the ability to fly twice as fast, carry nearly three times the payload and has four times the range of the CH-46E.

“Whether the JASDF service members remember one thing from today or everything, when they look back on this day, they will remember the Osprey, walking on it, sitting on it and smelling it,” said Wilk. “It’s a very different kind of aircraft, but hopefully this familiarization and introduction to it will encourage them to be Osprey advocates.”

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